I never cease to be amazed at the ways in which the media can whip up a frenzy: whether it’s forecasters
predicting a storm of the century, entertainment-focused, paparazzi types reporting on some dysfunctional celebrity’s latest miscue or, in the case of the economy, pure doom and gloom stories that make the much anticipated Recession a self-fulfilling prophecy.
My most recent ‘fan-the-flames’ favorite appeared on the front page of the New York Times business section. It focused on 40- and 50-something blue collar types who, having lost their $18-an-hour jobs, have been forced to move back in with their octogenarian parents. Ouch. Talk about grim. Not content with reporting just the facts, though, the reporter felt compelled to dig deep and elicit such quotes as, “I’m ruined,” and “I’ll never be able to dig myself out of this hell.”
The media helped build the dotcom mania of 1999 and 2000 by waxing ecstatic about get-rich-quick schemes that, as we now know, were anything but.
Now, they’re taking the opposite tack and filing one negative story after another. Which begs the question: which came first? The poor economic news or the negative press? My money’s on the latter.